The Neoliberal City

A book by Jason Hackworth called “The Neoliberal City” was recently released. I have to buy a copy.

Hackworth overviews the outcomes neoliberal, or “free-market,” policies have had on American cities. Neoliberal policies, like the ones the IMF and World Bank impose on developing nations, encourage “free” trade and individual freedoms while they discourage state regulation and social spending. The results, Hackworth argues, is gentrification, privatization, corporate invasion, and public-private revitalization projects that cater to wealthy residents–or non-resident investors–while leaving long-time and lower-income residents to fend for themselves.

I’ve witnessed this neoliberal trend first hand when the New Jersey government literally took over all functions of city government in Camden, NJ. The takeover resulted in massive social spending cuts, privatization, and the disenfranchisement of an entire city.

If you’re interested, David Harvey studies neoliberalism and cities as well. His recent book, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, “traces the rise of neoliberal principles based on the theory of free markets and unfettered international capital flows from an obscure economic theory to dominance on the world stage.” A recording of Harvey’s talk at UPenn in November, 2006, where he highlights neoliberal and gentrification issues in NYC, is available.

I’m looking forward to reading Hackworth’s work and writing a full review.